Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Winter is here

We've had an abrupt autumn in western Brittany, shortened by the Indian summer and dulled by the earlier lack of rain. Walked today along the Nantes-Brest canal near Chateaulin. The Aulne is grey and smooth in sharp, cold air without a breath of wind. Some trees are still green, other unleafed to skeletons without any transitory colour. Here and there along the Aulne valley there are splashes of orange, brown and gold, but that's a deceptive sideshow. Winter is here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Rennes again

I've been working in Rennes this week, looking especially at modern art and architecture. The photos above show the sculptural shadow-play of Alignement du XXI si├Ęcle by Aurelie Nemours at Beauregard.
Below, Georges Maillols' Horizons tower block (1970), is still a mesmorising spectacle from any angle, like its contemporary the Tour de l'Eperon by Louis Arretche.

I was also on the Odorico trail. This famous mosaicist and football fan has left his mark on many buildings in the city.
Great trip! Now time to write it all up...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Moor (and the language of landscape)

Out early this morning on the moor, after a night of torrential rain and storm-force winds. The sun did put in a short appearance but it's hard to enjoy our puny extremes of weather with images of the Philippines in mind. The top photo shows Tuchenn Gador, often marked Toussaints on maps as early French map-makers did not understand the Breton Tuchenn (a mound or prominent spot) and assumed a word that sounded like it - hence All Saints!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013


Writing about Rennes at the moment, mainly on the architerctural development of the city in line with its political fortunes and redevelopment after the great fire of 1720. It's interesting that few observers over the centuries seem to have anything positive to say about the regional capital. In 1788 Arthur Young was surprised by the people's affection and support for the exiled Parliament despite the huge gulf between the nobility and the poor, and terrible living conditions at the lower end of the social scale. A French visitor in 1636 had never seen so many rats and mice in his life, and everyone complained about the smell ...

Friday, November 01, 2013

Now we are six...

We still like playing on the beach...

We are still a young pup at heart...
And we like staying in hotels with this kind of view from our window...
And having HAM for breakfast ... just once a year.